CO2balance began exploring the feasibility of a safe water project in Sierra Leone in 2018. We have partnered with local NGO ‘Community Organisation for Development and Empowerment – Sierra Leone’ (CODE-SL), based in Bo, who are experienced in delivering high-impact WASH and development projects in the Eastern Province.
The CO2balance Safe Water Projects is the FIRST EVER borehole rehabilitation project to take place in the country, and provides safe and reliable water to thousands of households while reducing CO2 emissions!
The project is registered with the Gold Standard, and thus measures the impact that the project has on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDG 3 (Good Health), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 6 (Access to Safe Water) and SDG 13 (Cimate Action).
CO2balance and CODE-SL work directly with the Ministry of Water and Environment, and the local Districts to identify non-functioning boreholes in Kono and Kenema Districts, Eastern Province, where communities have no source of safe water and must rely on unprotected sources such as swamps, rivers or seasonal shallow wells. These communities must either boil their unsafe water as a treatment method (as is Government policy) or, if they are unable to collect or purchase wood, consume the raw unsafe water which leads to water-borne illness. The Safe Water Project rehabilitates non-functioning water points in order to provide safe water, which reduces CO2 emissions as communities no longer have to boil their water. The first phase of rehabilitations started in May 2019, and the second phase was completed in January 2020.
The project engages all stakeholders, such as water users, local women’s groups, district mechanics, and local government, to provide their ongoing feedback on the implementation of the project. This continuous input increases local ownership, and the quality and sustainability of the project.
Local pump minders have been given training and been provided with toolboxes to equip them in carrying out repairs to ensure that the pump continues to provide safe water, and that repairs are predominantly dealt with at community level. If a larger breakdown occurs, then CODE-SL and the District technicians can intervene.
The local communities receive annual water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) training to teach and refresh principles of safely managing the water point. Each water point has a WASH committee which devises by-laws on how to use the pump, such as opening times to prevent over exertion of the aquifer, and rules such as covering ones’ hair and removing shoes before entering the perimeter. As well as annual training, a CODE-SL project officers visits all the boreholes regularly to check on the pump, the surrounding area, and to hear feedback from the water users. This ongoing engagement is important for the long term success of the project.
Regional Project Manager James visited the projects in March 2020:
“Visiting the projects and meeting the communities in Kono and Kenema was fantastic. The projects have been and are implemented to the highest quality. I was very pleased to meet the Chairmen of both districts, and to hear how impactful the projects have been. They have been implemented with District and Minstrity of Water Resources, and forms an important part of water provision in the Districts, as well as reducing CO2 emissions and improving health. The integration with the Ministry and District
The communities I met told me the water stress they have previously suffered, and told of the impact that the borehole rehabilitation project has had on many areas of everyday life. One of the biggest impacts is on the local children who no longer have to spend hours every morning collecting water from a faraway source, making them late for school. The rehabilitated borehole also make children safer as they do not have to venture alone to secluded areas close to rivers and swamps”
The ongoing funding of the project is thanks to the sale of carbon credits to offset CO2 emissions. The CO2 emission reductions are verified and issued by the Gold Standard.